High-flying Fabian Cowdrey pilots Vine to victory over Canterbury
VINE maintained their momentum as yet more runs from Fabian Cowdrey helped them to five-wicket victory over Canterbury, writes Jamie Rose.
His unbeaten 75 on a volatile pitch moved him to the top of the division's batting rankings by an astonishing 127 runs.
In the first innings the 19-year-old had also helped chopped down the tail with three wickets after the rest of Vine's attack shared the top of the order as Canterbury fell short, though not well short, of a decent total.
But it was proved otherwise. Another comfortable and assured performance saw the chase was concluded with plenty of wickets and deliveries to spare.
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Referring to the current selection dilemma he faces, captain Karl Pearson said this team was the best since they last won the league in 1997.
"We are still aiming for that top-three finish but I think the club is as strong as it has been since they last won the league 15 years ago," he said. "We had to leave four very good players out."
"But we've also had the rub of the green. We've played every game this year where some have only played three, and we've benefited from that.
"The pitch at Canterbury had been relaid and was difficult to score on. We needed to hang around and we did. Fabian batted well again."
Canterbury won the toss and decided to bat – a curious decision on a deteriorating pitch. An opening stand of 28 was broken by the bowling of Ed Goodworth, who rewarded Pearson's faith in him with another solid shift of tight bowling.
In the end he allowed just 13 runs from a seven over stint.
Kent pro Simon Cook struck next, clean bowling Tim Bishop.
And then when Lorne Burns, returning from Glamorgan University, broke the only meaningful stand removing Luke Samarasinghe, the Canterbury tail struggled to stay in tact as they ended on 136-9.
In response Anthony Shales was removed for a duck - a stark contrast to his second team return of last week when the keeper-batsman nabbed a double-ton.
Masood, Howick and Hammond also struggled on the hostile track, while Cowdrey remained obdurate in defence.
His 75 not out showed yet another string to his bow, and there can be few denying the youngster has been the difference-maker so far for the Vine this year.
"I finished with 75 after a lot of balls," said the 19-year-old. "But I did the job in the end and people could play around me.
"We have 16 players here who are definitely good enough for first-team cricket. We will all have to perform to keep our place – it's a privileged position to be in.
"I was called up to the Kent squad for the CB40 game on Sunday too, which was great.
"It's the same there. Getting into the side properly is going to take much more than a couple of decent performances.
"I'll have to be doing it week in week out, and even then it could be a slow process.
"We have some very good batsmen at Kent. You just keep performing and know that you have to take the chance when it comes."
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